Shamkhani rejects link between US payment to Iran, nuclear talks

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani dismissed the idea that there was a connection between the $400 million in cash that Iran received from the US as part of an old debt and the process of negotiations on Tehran’s nuclear program.

Washington’s payment of $400 million in cash to Tehran was part of settlement of an outstanding debt relating to the purchase of military equipment before the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Shamkhani told Tasnim on Monday, saying the payment had nothing to do with the nuclear talks between Iran and the Group 5+1 (Russia, China, the US, Britain, France and Germany) that resulted in a nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in July 2015.

It was sheer coincidence that Iran received the cash payment simultaneous with the conclusion of the nuclear talks, he added.

Shamkhani explained that Iran has been making every effort since the Islamic Revolution to have access to its frozen assets in the US, adding that the $400 million was part of a trust fund Iran used before the Revolution to buy US military equipment and that Iran’s litigation is still ongoing in The Hague.

He said Washington that refused to pay off its debt to Iran in 1985 now has to pay back not only the $400 million in frozen funds, but also an extra $1,310 billion in interest.

Shamkhani then played down the controversy inside the US over the payment, saying he prefers not to go into details about the issue in order to let the US presidential candidates further reveal their true colors in the election campaigns.

Back on Wednesday, the Obama administration said the $400 million in cash paid to Iran soon after the release of five Americans was not ransom as some Republicans have charged.

The five, including Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, were released on January 16 in exchange for seven Iranians held in the US for sanctions violations.

The development coincided with the lifting of international sanctions against Tehran under the JCPOA.

By Tasnim News Agency